Mar 23, 2023 - Health

42% Americans are living with obesity

Share of population living with obesity
Data: NORC; Chart: Rahul Mukherjee/Axios

More than 4 in 10 U.S. adults are obese, with states in the South and Midwest showing some of the highest prevalence, a new analysis from NORC at the University of Chicago shows.

Why it matters: Obesity is associated with hypertension, cardiovascular disease, stroke and other conditions that are among the leading causes of preventable, premature death.

But strategies for treating obesity are changing, with doctors prescribing a new class of drugs in record numbers despite questions about their long-term effects and a hefty price tag.

The details: West Virginia and Mississippi have the highest obesity rates at 51%. The District of Columbia had the lowest obesity rate at 33%, followed by Colorado at 34%.

  • Obesity disproportionately impacts Black and Hispanic Americans, the analysis found.
  • Obesity rates are determined in part by using Body Mass Index ranges, which have been called into question for correlating weight and health too closely, the New Yorker reported.

Of note: The NORC analysis was produced with funding from Novo Nordisk, a company which produces both insulin and Ozempic, one of the popular weight-loss drugs.

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